To get from Galle to Negombo we caught a train from Galle to Colombo and the journey took about 2 hours. We were on a second-class train that was really packed, with no seats available. It wasn’t the most pleasant trip but it was ok. From Colombo we took another short train trip to Negombo.
Today is our last day in Sri Lanka… we had high hopes to relax and enjoy our last moments on the beach before continuing to our next destination of Java, Indonesia. Our day didn’t turn out to be quite like that…
It all started with a tasty breakfast at the hotel (Dunes Unawatuna Hotel) and then some hours spent on the internet trying to book some local flights in Indonesia, so we could skip the capital. This last minute decision was made following our own research, and a conversation with a couple of travellers we recently met who advised us to skip Jakarta. Booking flights with Tiger Airlines was a long process due to temporary issues with the internet, the Tiger Airlines website, and then processing an online payment.
While struggling with bookings we have a lovely lunch and a nice chat with a very friendly hotel owner. It turned out that he had lived in Australia in recent years and just came back to Sri Lanka to open this place. We could definitely feel the difference in terms of the service here compared to other places we stayed in.
Finally, we booked flights. Yay! We are ready to go… not to the beach though, but Galle to catch our train to Colombo and then to Negombo. The hotel owner is very kind to offer us a free lift to the Galle train station as he is going in the same direction. We are quite lucky as it’s getting a bit late to catch the train!
For the first time, our train journey in Sri Lanka isn’t so comfortable – the train is really packed and there are no seats available, so we end up sitting on our backpacks by the doors. Luckily it’s only 2 hours journey. It’s a second-class train and we are approached by an older local lady who is telling us that she has been diagnosed today with cancer and she will die soon – she is basically begging for a money, showing her almost empty wallet. An all too common scam attempted in Sri Lanka. We wonder why she is on the 2nd class train not the significantly cheaper 3rd-class if she doesn’t have any money?! We see her later talking to other Westerners… probably trying the same scam.
Finally we arrive to Negombo, we roughly know where the hotel is – it’s within walk-able distance, so relaxation is already on our minds. It’s just a few minutes walk… we think. But we can’t find the hotel we have booked. It was one of the cheaper hotel options on Agoda – as we knew it’s only for a few hours rest before catching the flight to Java. We wonder whether the hotel exist?!… so we ask tuk-tuk driver to take us to the hotel. He doesn’t seem to speak English but is nodding when we show him the name of the hotel and the address. We pack stuff and ourselves in the tuk-tuk and set off on… a few hours journey! That’s right a few hours… our driver has no idea where the place is… we just drive back and forth on the same street, ask others for directions and finally borrow a phone from a stranger (for which we paid some Rupees as thanks) and try to ring to the hotel. No one is answering! At this point we are really tired, thirsty, and hungry – but finally somehow we find the hotel, quite close to where we started our tuk-tuk journey!
The board with the name of the hotel is obstructed, so it’s no surprise that we didn’t notice it. There is only one person in this huge place – a guard who doesn’t speak English. We show him our Agoda confirmation, and he takes us to the reception and hands us a phone. We talk on the phone to someone who can hardly speak English and we can hardly understand… but finally after 20 minutes we can go to the room! It’s a nice room but the proximity to the airport makes it a bit noisy, so we expect that it will be a sleepless night…
Now… just one more thing – finding a place to eat. Unfortunately there isn’t any choice – just one local stand with very basic food. We wonder if it’s a good idea to eat here but the food turns out to be very tasty and the owner is offering his best service. We are very pleased with our last meal in Sri Lanka!
As we expected we hardly get any sleep and get up at 4am in the morning. It’s rainy out there and we need to walk to catch the tuk-tuk. We get a bit soaked. Anyhow, we are very excited about moving to our next destination – Java, Indonesia.
It seemed that 15 days was ideal length of time for our Sri Lanka vacation and overall we have very good memories!